A fully loaded Tesla Model S will cost you close to $150,000. For about $50,000 more, you could have yourself something truly unique, the Icon A5 — an airplane that can land on the water or the ground and then slip neatly into your garage, right next to that shiny new Tesla.
Icon is the innovative manufacturer behind the A5, a carbon fiber aircraft that weighs just 1,000 pounds and has a range of 450 miles on 20 gallons of gas with a 45-minute reserve. It has retractable landing gear and a 34.8-foot wingspan. It is powered by a 100 horsepower Rotax 912 engine. The two seater has a top speed of 110 mph and can reach an altitude of 10,000 feet.
The best part is, the Icon A5 is so simple to fly, an ordinary person can learn in just 20 hours — half the time required for a typical single engine aircraft. Icon hopes to capitalize on new FAA rules making ‘sport planes’ less regulated, and sports pilot licenses easier to obtain. Icon says it wants to “democratize” aviation the same way that brands like Apple, BMW, or Oakley have done.
FAA officials issued an airworthiness certificate for the plane earlier this year, giving it the go-ahead for commercial production. A production model of the A5 was tested this week on New York’s Hudson river, according to a report in the Daily Mail. The A5 will come with an optional ballistic parachute that brings the entire airplane gently to the ground in case of an emergency.
What is it like to fly? “It’s extremely graceful on the water and in the air, offers exceptional control harmony and visibility, is a joy to fly — and would not stall and spin no matter how much I provoked it,” wrote AOPA editor Dave Hirschman. “The feeling of putting the A5 into a bank is like the smooth cabernets and sauvignons of the Napa Valley where our flight tests are taking place. The control harmony reminds me of a DeHavilland Chipmunk or a T-38. Think it and the airplane obeys,” added Plane and Pilot’s Marc Lee. High praise, indeed.
The company says it has booked 1,500 orders for the A5. Expected delivery time is 3 years. Better get your order in fast if you want to be the first on your block to own one.
Photo Credits: Icon Aircraft